It is no good just wishing and hoping that things will get better or complaining about “if only we had …”. If you and your town or village are to move forward, they have to take a fresh look at what opportunities exist. So start by conducting an opportunity scan and understand the actual value (not the perceived value) of what opportunities exist in your community and make a start.
Every journey starts with the first step, and it takes a lot of bricks to build a lovely house.
- How many businesses, not-for-profits, and community organisations are there in your community. Do they need another one?
- What is the breakdown of the local business in size and type?
- Is there a balance in products and services provided to the community?
- How are community opportunities generated?
- What natural assets does the community have?
- What manufactured assets does the community have?
- Are there plans on the drawing board ready to be actioned?
- What is the most critical mindset shift for people in your community?
- Have they been involved with an ‘Economic Gardening’ or ‘Community Regeneration’ program? If not, why not?
It can sometimes be challenging to know where to start creating community opportunities. The array of new ideas can sometimes cause progress to become paralysed. An experienced facilitator will save a lot of procrastination and valuable time, months, even years. Practical people may already be deserting your community, so you have to decide, “can the community afford the loss to continue, or is there an opportunity for me to step in”?
What personal changes are taking place to generate community opportunities?
In times of adversity, it’s always tricky to know how if your current business model will keep working. However, adversity brings change and opportunity, and business models must be able to accommodate many unknowns. Some of the critical things that will bring about needed changes will be the little things that people do:
Changing reading habits
Read new books, magazines and the Internet. Keep in mind that one idea leads to another. So keep the flow of good information and knowledge flowing.
Communicate with people who can help
There are people outside the community who can make valuable contributions due to someone communicating with them. Who are these people, and how can you get them excited to help. Again, everything comes back to individual contacts.
Seek people who can motivate others
People who can excite people in their communities about a positive future can help make the necessary changes. Conversely, negative situations and negative people need avoiding if you want things to happen.
Write people’s thoughts in a journal
Write articles about what you want. It can help in clarifying your thoughts and making them more realistic. At the same time, you capture good ideas to use at some point in the future. You don’t want to be continually ‘reinventing the wheel’.
Communicate with the people in the community
Avoid the practice of keeping people in the dark and keeping community opportunities to yourself because it will only negatively impact your business. It is their community, too, and most will want to be involved and contribute. But how? Nobody likes the old style’ secret societies’. Instead, give more consideration to who you elect into the governments. Swinging communities seem to attract the most attention and new community opportunities, so it’s essential to consider your vote.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. Milton Berle
“Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity”. Peter Sergeant